Charity sponsors sensors to keep patients and staff on their feet

7 March 2016
Charity sponsors sensors to keep patients and staff on their feet

Peter Barnes with his father Jack, who is using one of the new chair sensors at Hawkhurst hospital.

Sensors to alert staff if patients try to get out of bed or a chair are now in place in Kent’s community hospitals.

Thanks to your donations to Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust’s charity, i care, £30,000 of bed and chair sensors to help colleagues care for patients with cognitive impairments, as well as people at a serious risk of falls, have been installed in the trust’s hospitals.

Occupational Therapist Joel Brown, based at Hawkhurst Community Hospital, emphasised the importance of the sensors. He said: “The sensor emits a loud and distinctive sound and can help patients who not only have diagnosed conditions, but also people who become dizzy when standing.

“The high-tech sensors benefit our patients first and foremost but also the team. They help us reach patients quickly to deal with the situation at-hand. They’re easy to fit too; we all know how to use and install them.”

Sally Hall, Lead Allied Health Professional and falls prevention champion for KCHFT said: “Reducing falls is a key priority for the trust and the sensors are just one of a number of quality improvements we have put in place to prevent and reduce patient harm.”

John Barnes*, known as Jack, 96, a former electrician from Bexleyheath, had been in Hawkhurst Community Hospital for two weeks after moving from the Conquest hospital, near Hastings. His son Peter, an ex-marine engineer from Ipswich who’s recently retired from the RNLI, said: “The alarm is very noisy, which is a good thing really. The sensors do a great job, staff can get to him quickly. Dad is very happy here – he doesn’t want to go home!”

Our community hospitals offer inpatient care for people who need rehabilitation and support to return home. Hawkhurst hospital has 16 single rooms with three lots of three-bedded bays and this useful tool can determine which patients could be in need of assistance, ensuring their needs are met as soon as possible by the hospital team.

Clare Barlow, Operations Manager for West Kent community hospitals, said: “You can’t run a rehab unit without having a risk of falls, we’re trying to get patients moving again so the risk of falls is inevitable. Bed sensors are a risk minimisation tool; they’re really helpful.”

Ward Manager Lesley Sloan at Victoria Hospital in Deal, added: “Bed and chair sensors are vitally important to help us care for our patients. We are so grateful for the generous donations given to our charity, i care, which have enabled us to buy this equipment for the hospital and reduce the risk of our patients falling.”

*Since meeting Mr Barnes, we have sadly learned he has died. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends.


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